the BIG move

Dear fellow chefs,

I love posting my recipes for you all to try. It's one of my favorite things about blogging - sharing tips, tricks and ideas. However, posting recipes on this blog and trying to keep up with my personal blog is just too much so I'm consolidating by posting all future recipes on my personal blog: http://www.elizabethbryant.blogspot.com/. I also have a recipe index (click here) for easy access to all my recipes (past and present). Hope you join me there!



quinoa salad with black beans and corn

Ok, there are not enough words to describe how good this quinoa salad is. In fact, I won't even try to think of worthy adjectives. Just know this: Since I first tasted this a week and a half ago, I have made it three times. Thrice. It is so good and hearty and chewy and satisfying and healthy. Hmmm. I guess those are pretty worthy adjectives after all.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper
1 cup frozen sweet white corn
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Stir in onions and garlic and saute until lightly browned.

Add quinoa and cover with broth. Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes (or until all the liquid is absorbed).

Stir in frozen corn and black beans until heated through. Remove from heat and add chopped cilantro. Serve warm, room temperature or cold. Whatever floats your boat.


zucchini corn quesadillas

David sent me a text today that read, "Let's try to eat vegetarian most of this week." Yipee! I do like eating less meat and I also enjoy the challenge of finding tasty, easy, meatless recipes. This was delicious and easy. Stay tuned for the side dish (which was my favorite part and of which I made a huge batch so I can eat it all week - it's THAT good).

2 medium zucchinis, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup frozen sweet white corn
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
4 flour tortillas
Shredded jack and cheddar cheese
Sour Cream, for serving
Salsa, for serving (see tip)

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a medium saute pan. Add onions and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add zucchini and saute until soft and caramelized. Add frozen corn and saute until hot. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in chopped cilantro.

Heat saute pan over medium heat. Divide zucchini mixture between two flour tortillas. Layer with shredded cheese and top each with a remaining tortilla. Add quesadilla, one at a time, until crispy on the bottom and carefully flip over until the other side is crispy as well. Serve with sour cream and salsa.

Tip: in a pinch here's how I improve on store-bought salsa. I trick I learned from my sister-in-law. Pour a good amount of Pace salsa (or whatever you have) into your Magic Bullet (trust me, it's worth it) along with a handful of cilantro and a squeeze of lime (or not). Blend until smooth. It's delicious.


Easy Spanish Rice

This was quite possibly one of the easiest and yummiest things I've ever made. I like to make Spanish Rice along side enchiladas, tacos, burritos, etc. but it's often such a pain to make. Not this recipe! Just five ingredients and 25 minutes and David and I agreed that it was superb. I served this along with some enchiladas I made using this shredded pork. It was delicious.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 of a medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice, uncooked
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chunky salsa (I used good ol' Pace - perfect for this type of situation)

Heat oil in a medium or large pot over medium heat. Stir in onion and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Mix rice into pot and stir until it begins to brown. Stir in chicken broth and salsa. Reduce heat and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked.


sunday dinner feast

As the tenth of eleven children Sunday dinners at my parent's house is pretty crazy. It's one thing I really miss about living in Arizona. Sunday dinner always consists of pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, peas, a salad and homemade rolls. I can rarely justify trying to replicate the whole meal for just the two of us so we invited some friends over for dinner last night as an excuse (and because we enjoy their company). I didn't really make my parent's meal but it was kind of close. I do my pot roast quite differently than my mom and dad but it's really good. I also made biscuits instead of rolls purely because I didn't have time to let them rise after church. So, here's my Sunday Dinner feast.

Pot Roast

2 1/2 - 3 pounds beef chuck roast (fresh or frozen - I buy a large roast from Costco and split it into smaller cuts and freeze it)
4 medium carrots
4 medium white potatoes
1 large sweet onion
4 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and pepper
1 (16 ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
1 chicken bouillon cube

Heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Pat beef with paper towels and season all sides generously with salt and pepper. Sear beef in the saute pan until a nice crust forms (about 3 minutes on each side). Place beef in crock pot. Don't drain the drippings.

Add carrots, onions, potatoes and garlic to the pan and saute for about 3 minutes. Pour in the diced tomatoes (with juices) and stir to combine. Arrange vegetables over the beef in the crock pot and pour in the beef broth with the bouillon cube dissolved.

Cook on low for 6 -8 hours.

Pot Roast Gravy

Pot Roast drippings/liquid
2 Tablespoons butter, cold
2 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 - 2 teaspoons cold water

Pour all the liquid out of the crock pot into a small or medium sauce pan. Let simmer over medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Mix butter and flour together in a small bowl and mash together with a fork until well combined (kind of like a buttery paste). Slowly whisk in the mixture into the liquid until starting to thicken and combined. I like my gravy pretty thick so I usually add the cornstarch as an added thickening agent. Just combine the cornstarch with cold water until dissolved and stir into the gravy, whisking until smooth. Season with freshly ground black pepper (I don't normally need anymore salt).

Buttermilk Biscuits

2 1/4 teaspoons (or 1 package) dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (approximately 110 degrees - should be warm not hot)
5 cups flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cold and cut into 1/2 Tablespoon chunks
2 cups buttermilk

Dissolve yeast in warm water until bloomed (about 10 minutes). Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until little pea-sized balls form. Mix buttermilk with the yeast mixture. Stir into dry mixture, working in only until moistened. Put in a large, plastic container and cover. Refrigerate for at least an hour (I didn't do this but I suspect if I had these would have been even better. You can also store the dough in the fridge for up to one week). Carefully roll out on a well-floured surface 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a 2 1/2 inch round cutter. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.


lobster rolls

David and I watch a lot of Food Network. A couple of weeks ago we were watching an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay where he made a lobster club against a Maine chef (we thought her's looked better). In any case, it sparked David's fancy for a lobster roll. So, last weekend when we went to visit his family his mom bought 8 lobster tails and David's craving was fulfilled. FYI - lobster is pricey. I wonder what the price is like in New England? Any Maine or Massachusetts readers out there?

Making these rolls alongside David's sister brought back some fond memories of my culinary internship at Blue Hill Country Club in Canton, Massachusetts. Of course I didn't have such fond memories of lobster at the time (see here).
4 lobster tails
2 Tablespoons black peppercorns
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 - 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
6 Hoagie buns
2-3 Tablespoons butter, melted
6 leaves butter lettuce, cleaned
2 large tomatoes, sliced

Fill a large stockpot with water about halfway and bring to a rolling boil. Rinse lobster tails and place in boiling water with peppercorns - making sure lobster tails are submerged. Let boil over medium high heat for 12 minutes. Meanwhile, make an ice bath (fill a large bowl with about 3 handfuls of ice and cold water enough to cool the lobster after cooking). After the lobster has cooked (they will be red) place in the ice bath to cool.

Combine mayonnaise, cream cheese, onion, celery, parsley, dill, cayenne and lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir until smooth. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

Once lobster is cooled, remove meat from the tails. I did this with some sharp kitchen shears. I cut all the way down the "spine" of the tail until the end and pulled the shell apart and removed the entire tail intact. Chop into 1 inch cubes (anything smaller and no one will know what they're eating - a shame when you spend the money for lobster!) Pour dressing over lobster (as much or little as you want) and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Brush the cut sides of the hoagie rolls with melted butter and toast on a hot skillet until golden brown. Layer with a butter lettuce leaf, then 2 slices of tomato and top with the lobster filling.


{t}blt salad

This salad was delicious. I really love BLT sandwiches but David and I have been on a major salad kick lately. I didn't really miss the bread with this salad but I suspect some homemade croutons or a slice of toasted sourdough might be good with this as well.

Last week, I just happened to have some organic turkey bacon in my fridge as well as some butter lettuce (which I almost always keep on hand since it's my favorite of the lettuces). Here's the kicker with this salad - the blue cheese. I have strong opinions about blue cheese from Stilton to Danablu to Roquefort to Gorgonzola. I love them all but Point Reyes is the BEST. Creamy and salty and just the right amount of blue. Mmmm. Plus you can get it pretty easily (I buy mine at Costco).
4 slices {turkey or regular} bacon
1 large tomato, sliced
1 head butter lettuce {or Boston bibb}
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 scallion, chopped
1 cup crumbled blue cheese {please go to Costco and buy the Point Reyes kind - I'm serious. no substitutions.}
2 Tablespoons milk, if necessary

Cook bacon in a hot skillet until crisp. Once cooked, transfer to a paper towel to drain and pour drippings into a small bowl (if you used turkey bacon, there won't be hardly any drippings so you can forgo this step - it's healthier but slightly less tasty). Once slightly cooled, chop the bacon.

Whisk sour cream, milk and vinegar into the bacon drippings (or alone in a small bowl if you used turkey bacon) until smooth. Season with a bit of kosher salt and pepper. Add chopped scallion and 3/4 cup of blue cheese. Stir lightly until combined.

Clean lettuce and tear into wedges and toss with salad dressing (as much or as little as you like). Top with tomato slices, chopped bacon, the remaining blue cheese and a bit of pepper to taste.


buttermilk waffles

David is always begging me to make sourdough waffles. I often oblige but it's a lot of work getting the sourdough out the night before, carefully folding in egg whites and so on and so forth. Besides, my recipe always ends up throwing out around 4-5 waffles and that's bad news in our house where portion control reigns. So, I tweaked my sister-in-law's recipe just a bit and these were super! Just the right amount of crispiness (I hate me a soggy waffle) and it made 2 thick belgian waffles - which was exactly all we needed around these parts. Another major bonus was I made almost the entire thing in my Magic Bullet (thanks for the tip, Leone)!

1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat waffle iron. Beat egg until fluffy. Beat in flour, milk, vegetable oil, baking powder, salt, vanilla and cinnamon just until smooth.

Spray preheated waffle iron with non-stick cooking spray. Pour half of the mixture onto the hot waffle iron and cook until golden brown. I serve this with fresh whipped cream and strawberries.


artichoke tomato penne

This was a cinch to make. Really easy and light. Of course, we had to use artichokes to meet our "A" requirement for the Go See Do project (see here) and this turned out pretty good.

12 ounces oil marinated artichoke hearts
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 16 ounce can diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
kosher salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
12 ounces cooked penne pasta
Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (to taste)

Drain the artichokes, reserving the oil and halve them lengthwise.

Heat 3 Tablespoons of the artichoke oil in a medium saute pan. Add the onions and garlic and saute over medium low heat. Saute for 10 minutes and stir in diced tomatoes, tomato paste, basil, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes.

Add the reserved artichoke hearts with the remaining oil marinade and stir while simmering for another 10 minutes. Stir in the cooked penne until well combined. Adjust the seasonings as needed and sprinkle with chopped parsley and grated cheese.

apple spice cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting

This cake . . . oh! This cake!!! It was really good. I don't know about you guys, but I love spice cake. A lot. This was moist and perfectly spicy. I will definitely make this again.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon all-spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 medium Gala or Fuji apples (peeled, cored and cut into 1/2" cubes)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease two 9" round pans. Whisk dry ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Using an electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until light and smooth. Add eggs one at a time and beat well until combined. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and mix for just a minute (not combined) and then pour in applesauce. Beat until everything is combined. Stir in apples. Divide cake batter between the two pans and smooth out tops.

Bake cakes in the center of the oven for about 40 minutes (or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean - you don't want to overcook this cake). Cool on racks for about 15 minutes and then loosen edges with a knife. Invert cakes onto the racks to cool completely.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup walnuts, coarsley chopped (for garnish)

Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in vanilla and a pinch of salt. Gradually add powdered sugar and cinnamon at the end, beating until smooth and creamy.

Using a long, serrated knife cut of the rounded tops of the cakes to make level. Frost cake and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top along with chopped walnuts.


strawberry smoothie

Ever had Trader Joe's nonfat plain frozen yogurt? Oh, it's sooooo good. Sooo tart and sooooo softy. It's nearly perfect. Plus, it has zero fat. That's a BIG plus.
Anyway, at night when David gets home and I'm hankering for a treat, I whip out about 4 frozen strawberries, one banana, rougly 1/2 cup of skim milk, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 2 big scoops of this froyo and blend it together . . . sooooo good. Don't doubt. Just make.


green chicken and corn enchiladas

This is my healthiest version of enchiladas. While David loves your traditional enchiladas (fried tortillas, cheese-filled and red sauce), I find these a great alternative. I also suspect you could omit the chicken and double the veggies to make it vegetarian. But I think the chicken adds a great substance.

1/2 sweet white onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup frozen sweet white corn
2-3 chicken breasts
10 corn tortillas
1 can (26 ounce) Las Palmas green enchilada sauce
shredded cheese (I use a mixture of Monterey Jack and Cheddar)

Set a large pot of water on to boil. Add chicken breasts and boil until done (about 8 minutes if not frozen). Once cooked through, remove from water and let cool. Shred the chicken and set aside.

Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a medium saute pan. Add onion and saute until starting to soften. Stir in diced bell pepper and cook until starting to soften (not too long!). Add the frozen corn and saute until warmed through. Pour in cooked chicken and about 3 Tablespoons of the enchilada sauce. Season with salt and pepper and stir until combined.

Preheat oven to 375. Take a glass casserole dish (9x13) and pour about 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce on the bottom. Swirl to coat the pan. Wrap the corn tortillas in a wet (and rung dry) paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds just to soften the tortillas.

One at a time, put about 1-2 Tablespoons of the chicken mixture inside the tortilla and wrap up tightly (being sure not to break the tortilla). Place in the casserole dish and repeat until used all the tortillas and the filling. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce on top and layer a good amount of cheese on top as well. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes until the top is bubbly and browned (I like my top really crispy).

Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole and tomatillo salsa (my recipe here).


pasta a la caprese

This was super easy and super delicious. I just happened to have all the ingredients in my fridge which was rare since I don't normally keep fresh basil and fresh mozzarella around the house. I'm glad I did though because dried basil and regular mozzarella wouldn't have been as good. By the way, unless you grow your own fresh basil I recommend buying it at Trader Joe's. Their's is good and very inexpensive.2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
10-12 cherry tomatoes, washed and cut in half
10-12 large basil leaves
2 large fresh mozzarella balls, diced
1/2 pound pasta of your choice (bowtie, penne, fusilli, etc.)

Set a pot of water on to boil. Add a bit of salt and boil the pasta until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the tomato halves and cook until they burst and the skins somewhat caramelize. Pour in the drained pasta and stir until combined. Remove from heat and add diced mozzarella and basil. Season with salt and pepper. You can also drizzle a bit of olive oil on top for more flavor.


salmon spinach salad with crispy potatoes

here's a super quick and delicious way to use up salmon burgers without making burgers. it was an incredibly simple supper but I liked it.
Salmon Spinach Salad with Crispy Potatoes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4 yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/8 inch thick slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 salmon burgers
4 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
1 lemon, cut in wedges

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, crispy and golden brown, 5 or 6 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add salmon burgers. Cook until golden brown on both sides - about 4 or 5 minutes on each side.

Combine the shallots, vinegar and about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool a minute and then whisk in buttermilk. Place spinach leaves in serving bowls and toss with the salad dressing. Top with potatoes and salmon burger and squeeze lemon wedges on top.


salmon burgers

I've really been loving salmon burgers lately. I could eat them every day. They are so easy to make, healthy and a quick dinner. I purchase a bag of Trident wild caught Alaskan salmon burgers from Costco and quickly saute them in a large skillet for about 4 minutes on each side until they're nice and golden. Then I lay then on a toasted bun with a bit of basil mayonnaise, fresh baby spinach leaves some tomato and red onion. Mmmm. try it sometime.